The film is simple in how it conveys its message. Letting the people speak for themselves and (as much as translations allow for) not twist their words. The world that they inhabit is beautiful and lush, so totally foreign to the daily lives of an American. That is the film's greatest asset, and it knows it. I was most enthralled when the film portrayed that simply. Unfortunately, the film ran out of things to say.
No tendría el valor de hacer una película con un hombre enfermo mientras estoy sabiendo que puedo llevarlo al hospital y pagarle la operación con solo vender mi cámara. Mostrar la miseria sin atender sus causas es congelar el problema y abonar al estado de las cosas. Evidenciar las transacciones de dinero entre el documentalista y el hombre a quien filma no la salva de ser, en el fondo, una película explotadora.
I live close to the Bolivian version of this "modern jungle", and I'm sick of all the tourists taking souvenir-like pictures of people that have been culturally alienated and financially screwed by global capitalism. At least this film is honest about the sadness and frustration you feel when you actually get to know them. But I still feel like it didn't quite liberate itself from the exploitative gaze.
Immediately confronts the viewer with a series of constructed images of "otherness", and positions both filmmakers and audience in a locus of uncomfortable complicity in the complex social economy of exploitation it reveals. Neither an easy watch nor an easily justifiable one; does difficult = redeeming? Or just fetishistic? Brutal realities: "I'm consuming the sacred product, father. It's the last one I can afford."
The filmmakers have thrust themselves into the lives of the subjects, and the subjects request the financial assistance of the filmmakers. All caught on film, it is at once fascinating and yet highly uncomfortable (but in a "good" way). It brings up the question of what is the moral or ethical responsibility of a documentary filmmaker. It's a good question and it is shown (although not answered) onscreen.